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10 Shocking Facts About Processed Food

10 Shocking Facts About Processed Food

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration defines “processed food” as “any food other than a raw agricultural commodity and includes any raw agricultural commodity that has been subject to processing, such as canning, cooking, freezing, dehydration, or milling.” By this definition, most food can be considered processed.

For purposes of this article though, when I say “processed food” I mean food that has been altered with artificial ingredients, fillers and chemical additives.

Because this is the stuff that’s making us fat, causing disease and taking years off our lives.

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Read these 10 facts about processed food and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about. Let’s dig in.

70 percent of our calories now come from processed food.

It’s a sad fact that 7 out of every 10 foods that touch your mouth are altered with chemical ingredients, according to Melanie Warner, a former New York Times reporter who authored the book Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal.

Processed food is addictive.

There’s a reason you can’t stop eating all those sugary, salty snacks: they’re designed to keep you coming back. Processed foods stimulate dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter that lights up your brain in similar ways that drugs do. Food companies know this … and they actually engineer their products to have this effect. Journalist Michael Moss says in his book Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us:

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Some of the largest companies are now using brain scans to study how we react neurologically to certain foods, especially to sugar. They’ve discovered that the brain lights up for sugar the same way it does for cocaine.

Processed food is plentiful.

In Pandora’s Lunchbox, Melanie Warner talks about how there are now close to 5,000 additives allowed in our food. This number continues to grow year after year, too.

Processed foods have disgusting ingredients.

  • Titanium dioxide, which is commonly used in paints and sunscreens, is also found in many salad dressings, coffee creamers and cake icing.
  • One of the key ingredients in many canned and fast food chili is silicon dioxide, also known as sand.
  • Lanolin, an oily substance found in sheep’s wool, is an additive used in chewing gum.
  • Cellulose, which is actually ground-up wood pulp, is often used as an anti-caking agent in bagged cheeses.
  • Sodium bisulfite, a toilet bowl cleaning chemical, is also used in potato chips.

Processed food will kill you.

Perhaps most troubling is the fact that eating a diet high in processed foods has been proven to take years off your life. Pretty good incentive to eat more real food, if you ask me.

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Processed foods will make you fat.

Research shows the “Western Diet”, which is prevalent in countries like the U.S., Great Britain and Australia, will make you fat. Potato chips, sugar-sweetened beverages, refined grains, and sugary snacks, in particular, are the four processed foods that cause you to gain the most weight over time.

Processed foods have been a root cause of nearly every modern disease.

A comprehensive research review of 172 clinical studies published in the Journal of American Clinical Nutrition concluded that virtually all chronic diseases are partially caused by our modern diet of engineered foods.

Eating processed foods will make it harder for you to burn calories.

Eating a diet high in processed food causes your body to burn fewer calories—50 percent fewer, to be exact.

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Processed foods cause imbalances in your gut.

The microorganisms living in your digestive tract form an important “inner ecosystem” that influences many aspects of your health. Processed foods disrupt the microorganisms in your digestive tract, which can lead to serious problems.

Processed meats may cause cancer.

Bacon, ham, pastrami, salami, pepperoni, hot dogs, and sausages may be delicious … but the effects of eating these processed meats can be devastating. Studies show eating them can significantly increase your odds of developing heart disease and type II diabetes and may take years off your life.

If these 10 things sound like good reasons to stop eating processed foods, start working on changing those bad habits into good ones. Take it slow, phase out one food at a time and you’ll change your health and your life.

Featured photo credit: Let Ideas Compete via flickr.com

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Scott Christ

Scott Christ is a writer, entrepreneur, and founder of Pure Food Company.

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Last Updated on August 4, 2020

8 Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle That Get You to Live With Less

8 Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle That Get You to Live With Less

Minimalism is a way to put a stop to the gluttony of the world around us. It’s the opposite of every advertisement we see plastered on the radio and TV. We live in a society that prides itself on the accumulation of stuff; we eat up consumerism, material possessions, clutter, debt, distractions and noise.

What we don’t seem to have is any meaning left in our world.

By adopting a minimalist lifestyle, you can throw out what you don’t need in order to focus on what you do need.

I know first hand how little we actually need to survive. I was fortunate enough to live in a van for four months while traveling throughout Australia. This experience taught me valuable lessons about what really matters and how little we really need all this stuff we surround ourselves with.

Less is more.

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Living a minimalist lifestyle is reducing.There are a few obvious benefits of minimalism such as less cleaning and stress, a more organized household and more money to be found, but there are also a few deep, life-changing benefits.

What we don’t usually realize is that when we reduce, we reduce a lot more than just stuff.

Consider just some of the benefits of living with fewer possessions:

1. Create Room for What’s Important

When we purge our junk drawers and closets we create space and peace. We lose that claustrophobic feeling and we can actually breathe again. Create the room to fill up our lives with meaning instead of stuff.

2. More Freedom

The accumulation of stuff is like an anchor, it ties us down. We are always terrified of losing all our ‘stuff’. Let it go and you will experience a freedom like never before: a freedom from greed, debt, obsession and overworking.

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3. Focus on Health and Hobbies

When you spend less time at Home Depot trying unsuccessfully to keep up with the Joneses, you create an opening to do the things you love, things that you never seem to have time for.

Everyone is always saying they don’t have enough time, but how many people really stop and look at what they are spending their time doing?

You could be enjoying a day with your kids, hitting up the gym, practicing yoga, reading a good book or traveling. Whatever it is that you love you could be doing, but instead you are stuck at Sears shopping for more stuff.

4. Less Focus on Material Possessions

All the stuff we surround ourselves with is merely a distraction, we are filling a void. Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy comfort. After the initial comfort is satisfied, that’s where our obsession with money should end.

We are bombarded by the media presenting promises of happiness through materialistic measures. It’s no wonder we struggle everyday. Resist those urges. It’s an empty path, it won’t make you happy.

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It’s hard not to get roped into the consumerism trap. I need constant reminders that it’s a false sense of happiness. I enjoy stuff, but I also recognize that I don’t need it.

5. More Peace of Mind

When we cling onto material possessions we create stress because we are always afraid of losing these things. By simplifying your life you can lose your attachment to these things and ultimately create a calm, peaceful mind.

The less things you have to worry about, the more peace you have, and it’s as simple as that.

6. More Happiness

When de-cluttering your life, happiness naturally comes because you gravitate towards the things that matter most. You see clearly the false promises in all the clutter, it’s like a broken shield against life’s true essence.

You will also find happiness in being more efficient, you will find concentration by having refocused your priorities, you will find joy by enjoying slowing down.

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7. Less Fear of Failure

When you look at Buddhist monks, they have no fear, and they have no fear because they don’t have anything to lose.

In whatever you wish to pursue doing you can excel, if you aren’t plagued with the fear of losing all your worldly possessions. Obviously you need to take the appropriate steps to put a roof over your head, but also know that you have little to fear except fear itself.

8. More Confidence

The entire minimalist lifestyle promotes individuality and self reliance. This will make you more confident in your pursuit of happiness.

What’s Next? Go Minimalism.

If you’re ready to start living a minimalist lifestyle, these articles can help you to kickstart:

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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